Leslye Headland Discusses Why One ‘Acolyte’ Writer Never Saw ‘Star Wars’: “I Want Those Emotional Beats To Be Earned”

Star Wars The Acolyte Reveals Details as the Second Show Set in the High Republic Era Leslye Headland Shares Insights
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‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’ has been in development for a while, and this week brought several announcements, including the release of the first public trailer. While details about the plot remain scarce, many fans are thrilled by its setting in the High Republic Era, a new territory for live-action storytelling.

Despite this unique backdrop, ‘The Acolyte’ is only the second show to explore this era, following the recently concluded ‘Young Jedi Adventures.’ Based on Headland’s remarks, ‘Acolyte’ promises to be different from expectations. She initially pitched it as a blend of ‘Frozen’ and ‘Kill Bill,’ drawing inspiration from samurai and Wuxia films.

As a devoted Star Wars fan since her teenage years, it’s understandable that she drew references and inspiration from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. One notable character was even taken from the High Republic series of books. Additionally, Headland surprised many by revealing that one of the writers had never seen Star Wars. She explained her reasoning for this decision in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Yeah, I just thought it would be good to have the perspective of a person that had literally never seen Star Wars until she was in the room. And she said to me, “Why do you want me in this room? I’ve never seen Star Wars. I have no idea. I think there’s a dog in it, but I don’t know anything.” And I was like, “First of all, you’re an incredible writer, but that’s why I want you here. I want you to be questioning narrative. I don’t want myself, who’s a lifelong fan, to just be relying on particular references in order to create emotional beats. I want those emotional beats to be earned and checked by someone that isn’t super familiar with it.”

Headland further clarified that the writer, who hadn’t seen Star Wars before, became a fan after binge-watching all relevant Star Wars content within a few weeks.

And it was really funny because she finally watched the Original Trilogy over that Christmas. She watched the Prequels, too, but she kept texting me [about the Original Trilogy] and was like, “Luke and Vader are …” All those things that we’ve known forever were blowing her mind. She was like, “Luke and Leia are brother and sister!? What the fuck!?” She was writing all these things to me, and I just thought it was so funny. So she educated herself in order to be in the room, but it was really fun to have somebody like her to help collaborate.

It’s logical to consider that a writer unfamiliar with the universe may offer unbiased input on the story, as they won’t rely on references or preconceived timeline decisions. However, reactions on social media are divided. Some argue that only die-hard fans should shape Star Wars products, while others believe anyone has the right to contribute to the story. What are your thoughts? Share in the comments below!

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